This actually happened a year ago, but is somehow going viral now. I don’t know why, and I have to admit to some curiosity over that gap. But that’s not the point. This point, actually, is this…
Transcript below the fold…
From racist, homophobic asshole (lack of capitalization left in, because I think it’s telling that they couldn’t at least capitalize the “i” in Ireland, but had no problem capitalizing “US”; also, I’m bolding the bigotry):
hello, my fiance and i are currently planning a trip to ireland (from the US) next June of 2017 to get married and honeymoon for three weeks. we are odinists and would like an odinist or similar minded clergy to marry us. we would prefer to find someone who only performs heterosexual ceremonies and refrains from marrying those of mixed races. if you can help me find someone, that would be fantastic and very much appreciated. thank you very much for your time and consideration and i hope to hear from you soon. ~sarah
Response from Pagan Federation Ireland:
We are most happy to report that none of our clergy subscribe to your views on mixed race or gay marriage, and so we cannot assist you in your upcoming visit to Ireland.
Yours very sincerely
Everyone at Pagan Federation Ireland
It gets even better, though, because there was more, which really gives context to this whole “Odinist” thing…
S. Fenner <email@example.com>
00:16 (8 hours ago)
I am writing to determine if the Pagan Federatiin of Ireland truly supports all Pagan paths, as stated on your website.
Image recently received the attached screenshot of a query by an Odinist. (Attached below)
Could you please advise us as to if this is indeed the attitude of your organization towards what are known as traditional folkish Heathens?
Pagan Federation Ireland <firstname.lastname@example.org>
08:19 (0 minutes ago)
Pagan Federation Ireland operates a zero tolerance approach
to racism and homophobia, both of which were abundantly clear
in the initial communication.
Your values, as stated here on your website –https://odinia.org/what-are-values/
– are incompatible with ours.
If your religious beliefs or practices incorporate either racism or
homophobia, then you will not find a home here.
As you seem to wish to make some sort of political issue
of this, might we suggest the following:
Screenshots are so very amateur,
and prone to being disbelieved.
For a proven donation of €10 to any Irish Pagan organisation,
not necessarily ourselves, or to the Native Woodland Trust – http://www.nativewoodlandtrust.ie/en/,
we will send you a signed copy of the statement on headed notepaper.
Laminated if you wish.
We will also send you permission to distribute the letter,
in its complete form only, as widely as you wish.
The €10 will cover two copies of the letter,
one of which we will have framed and put on the office
wall, lest we ever forget.
Yours most sincerely
Pagan Federation Ireland
I have to confess something, first… I know very, very little about Paganism. And what I do know is surface stuff, mostly in the context of the kinds of New Age things skeptics sometimes make fun of, like “healing crystals”, magic spells or other “witchcraft”, etc. I do also know that there’s atheist paganism, but I haven’t really looked into it that much.
That said, when I was at Florida Atlantic University, I attempted to get a branch of the Secular Student Alliance started, and we found ourselves allied with FAU’s Pagan society, which was really cool, actually (I did not succeed because it turned out to be way too much to take on… sorry, FAU).
So with that out of the way… this is absolutely beautiful. I love this, and everyone should love this. But what I’d really like to do is respond to a comment left on Someecard’s write-up about this. Their write up was last year, but it seems the comments have started rolling in over the last couple weeks…
Honestly though, and I’ve been a solitary pagan for a long time, almost 30 years, I think the Pagan Federation of Ireland was way out of line. In my opinion, they could have denied the request without the sarcastic atittude and foul language. The Odinists were politie enough in their letter. Not everyone in any community is going to see eye to eye. And freedom of religion means they are free to practice a racist religion. Being intolerant of racists doesn’t mean you have to shame them. Denying your services and explaining why would have been good enough. Everyone in the world is never, ever, ever going to think the same. Get used to it.
It will always and forever amaze me that there are people who equate bigotry with “differences of opinion”. Like disagreeing on whether or not tea is better than coffee is the same as disagreeing on whether or not two women of different races should be allowed to marry each other.
The former is a difference of opinion. The latter is not a “difference of opinion”; it’s bigotry. Cruel, rude, impolite, sick, twisted, disgusting bigotry. You don’t get to “disagree” with someone’s humanity and be treated like anything other than you are… an open bigot.
I don’t care what terms you couch it in. I don’t care if you turn your charm up to 11; if you use your nicest, sweetest, kindest words. I don’t give a flying fuck if you say “please” and “thank you”. There is nothing polite about bigotry. And bigotry never deserves a “polite” response. In fact, I’d argue that Pagan Federation Ireland was almost too polite. “Fuck off” is probably one of the nicer, more polite things you could say to a bigot like that.
Also? The person who posted that comment immediately followed it up with the following comment:
I’ll just add that I’m not a racist, and I’m not intolerant of the LGBTQ community. I have many people of color in my family, along with a few gay and transgender. But I still don’t think what the Federation of Ireland did was appropriate.
It’s damn near a parody.
As for these “odinists”… in the quoted email response above, Pagan Federation Ireland links to the Odinists’ “values” page.
Please… I’m begging you… don’t click on it. It’s disgusting. I’ve never seen that much vile anti-Jewish conspiracy bullshit contained on one page in my life… and I’ve seen a lot of anti-Jewish bigotry in my lifetime, both on and off the internet. In short, Odinists are Nazis who are trying their damndest to co-opt a form of paganism based on Norse paganism. I wish I could sit here and tell you about how No True Scotsman is not actually a fallacy in this case, but I don’t know enough about Heathenry, and a cursory glance of the Wiki page suggests that, even in this case, the fallacy is still a fallacy. The Racial issues section of the Wiki page is a fascinating read, though. So if you want to know about this Odinism stuff, go to the Wiki, instead of the page Pagan Federation Ireland links to.
But brava to Pagan Federation Ireland. I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland, for so many reasons… this just gives me yet another reason…